When star Perth Heat pitcher Daniel Schmidt first started noticing his thinning hair at 18 he was determined to ensure he didn’t waste ‘the best years of his life” feeling low on confidence.
He researched solutions, sought a medical consultation and took Proscar to slow down his hair loss.
While the medication didn’t promote renewed growth it helped to preserve precious existing hair follicles so that, if he eventually chose to, he could successfully have a hair transplant.
Daniel says he knew he ‘had to take care of ” the genetically inherited male pattern baldness – possibly brought on early by the stress of a busy school and sporting schedule – that was making him increasingly self conscious.
At the age of 21 and after several consultations with renowned Perth based hair restoration physician, Dr Jennifer Martinick, Daniel had a hair transplant.
Now, at 25, after having two procedures, there are no signs of the former hair loss that once affected his confidence.
Daniel, who spends six months of the year playing baseball in the United States, says he is fortunate that, unlike many young men, he received appropriate treatment from the outset.
Although generally guarded about his privacy, Daniel is sharing his story to help other young men.
“Your early to mid twenties are meant to be the best years of your life and I didn’t want to spend those years with poor confidence and self esteem,” Daniel says.
“Losing your hair in your late teens and early twenties really does affect your confidence.
“I was a bit worried about the questions I may get from other guys after surgery, however I decided not to let that stop me.”
Daniel says young men’s concerns about hair loss are often trivialised and this deters them from seeking appropriate medical treatment.
Also, a lot of young men tend to put off obtaining a medical consultation because they hope the many promoted ‘quick fix miracle cures’ will renew their hair growth.
He says young men must be aware that the more they delay seeking appropriate treatment, the more time they waste on preserving their precious hair follicles.
“My advice is to get the first consultation with the right doctor as quickly as possible to ensure they take the treatment path that is right for them,” Daniel says.
“I think a lot of young men want to tell themselves that some of these promoted cures work, but there’s no miracle shampoo out there. ‘“
Daniel says he gained the confidence to go ahead with a hair transplant after witnessing the results on several men.
“A defining moment for me was when I saw just how good a hair transplant can look,” Daniel says.
“I have heard and read of cases where people have very obvious looking hair transplants, but after seeing the results of hair transplants by a local physician I felt very comfortable about going ahead.”
Dr Martinick, the former President of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, (ISHRS) says she hopes young men will share their concerns about hair loss with a doctor.
She advises young men with male pattern baldness to seek treatment as early as possible to prevent further hair loss and, in the event that they may eventually choose to have a hair transplant, ensure they preserve precious donor follicles.
Dr Martinick says she receives a lot of requests from young men for hair transplants, but as a general rule she doesn’t perform hair transplants on men under 26.
However, she believes there are circumstances, where a more flexible approach is needed.
She says her professional concerns are that young men can be unrealistic about what can be achieved from a hair transplant and expect to regain the hair line of an eighteen year old.
In many cases, these young men do not comprehend that they only have a limited number of follicles for transplanting to achieve the results they desire.
“But if I am presented with a mature 21 year-old with a realistic perception of what hair transplanting can achieve – and his hair loss is interfering with his quality of life – then I’ll consider undertaking a transplant,” Dr Martinick says.
“I have a much more open mind about transplanting young men than I had a couple of years ago as I understand they are only young once.”